Dialing Up the Human Factor: Marley Spoon’s Recipe for Retention
Marley Spoon’s customer-centric business model needed a telephony system with the flexibility to put the human voice at the center of customer engagement. babelforce proved to be the perfect fit.
About Marley Spoon
Marley Spoon brings market-fresh, easy cooking back to the people. Their chefs create inspiring and delicious recipes, and the company delivers the recipes – with all the ingredients you need to cook them – directly to your door.
With customers across Europe, America, and Australia, they work with some of the world’s top chefs to create tasty recipes each week. If there are three things that set Marley Spoon apart from other meal-kit services, it’s their commitment to quality, to the environment, and to delivering customer service excellence.
USA, Australia, Germany, Portugal
Customer service optimization
Marley Spoon's Human-Centric Approach
Marley Spoon has always done things a bit differently. While many companies were excited to embrace the efficiency of IVR systems and VoiceBots, they were initially concerned about relying too much on automation in customer communication. This meant their call center had to operate differently too. Instead of having a large team of agents in a tiered support system, they trained a small team of highly skilled agents to an expert level. Each of these agents is capable of handling any query from any customer at any time.
It’s an approach which allows their customers to dial a number and speak directly to a customer support agent, giving a personal, human touch to each call. Much like an F1 pitstop, every Marley Spoon customer gets swift, direct service without any detours.
The challenge, as their business growth rapidly accelerated, was preserving this human touch at scale. This was vitally important because, for Marley Spoon, premium-quality agent-customer interactions directly increase customer retention. And for a subscription-based business, that has a major impact on business outcomes.
The question was, how could they pull this off without training an expansive team of agents to expert level? With their customers at the heart of all their decisions, Marley Spoon decided that the way forward was to focus on supporting their customer service team with a tech solution that would give their agents the time and resources to supercharge their outbound support. babelforce was the perfect partner for Marley Spoon’s vision.
Unlocking the Full Potential of Their Telephony System
Marley Spoon first partnered with babelforce in 2015. According to Ben Chapple, the Global Head of CCI Outbound & Planning at Marley Spoon, the ways in which they utilized babelforce shifted over time. Initially, they had segregated teams – a U.S. support team, a European team, an Australian team, and even a reactivations team. These teams were the first to start using the outbound dialer through their CRM, marking their initial foray into using the telephony system in a more technical way.
Ben recalls the first time he started getting to grips with babelforce. “For me, it was pretty straightforward. There’s nothing too complicated to use there.” When it came to setting up workflows, his team found the platform to be intuitive. If they needed extra help, babelforce was there to support them through the process.
Since they now had the tech available, Marley Spoon decided to experiment by constructing an IVR system but held back from deploying it as they championed a human-first customer service approach. Instead of navigating through a maze of automated responses, Marley Spoon wanted customers to reach a human agent promptly. Ben underscores this sentiment, stating, “I feel like there’s this missing sort of link to an actual human nowadays.”
“I think the outbound dialer really was a game changer for my team. Without it we couldn’t be nearly as profitable as we are.”
Global Head of CCI Outbound & Planning
Proactive Outbound Dialing – The Retention Booster
Outbound calling was extremely important to Marley Spoon – their subscription-based business model meant that retaining every customer was critical. As Ben puts it, “It costs a lot of money to acquire customers and not all customers are the right fit or you’re not the right fit for the customer.” They wanted to identify pain points in the customer journey and then address them via strategic outbound dialing.
Enter babelforce’s automated dialer. Beyond the obvious time saved from manual dialing, the dialer had a range of features that made it indispensable to Marley Spoon’s outbound team. It automatically processed customer lists so that the right customers were contacted at exactly the right times. And whenever there was a failed contact attempt, the system auto-recycled the contact for a retry, ensuring that no customer was missed.
“The outbound dialer for me, that really was a game changer for my team,” Ben says. “Manually dialing those numbers, waiting for it to go through, you add so much time to your day.” The time-saving aspect was one of the biggest advantages that babelforce’s outbound dialer brought, but it also enabled Marley Spoon to start proactive calling.
The Forgotten Art of Callbacks
In today’s automated age, where AI and chatbots have become the norm for customer service, the act of calling a customer back seems to be a lost art. However, Marley Spoon sees this method as the next step in their continuous evolution of personalized customer support.
Ben Chapple provides insight into their thinking: “If we know that our customers come through our chatbot – because that was the first thing they could find on the app – and we know that customers like phone calls, why not offer them that callback option?”
With their primary objective set on expanding self-service avenues, Marley Spoon started to implement this callback functionality in a more targeted manner. This approach efficiently sidesteps the traditional IVR systems and allows their customers to get an immediate response from a live agent, which is what Marley Spoon wants to be known for.
Marley Spoon & babelforce – A Recipe for Success
The integration of babelforce into Marley Spoon’s customer service model was instrumental in enabling their customer support team to deliver the best possible experience. The outbound dialer allowed Marley Spoon to offer customers a more personalized experience, while the callback functionality allowed them to be proactive and reach out to customers when they needed help the most. In no time, Marley Spoon began to see a surge in customer satisfaction. Along with increasing profits, they managed to achieve and sustain an impressive benchmark of more than 80% 5-star reviews.
Enabling Profitability with Outbound Dialing
According to Marley Spoon, automating the outbound dialing process gave them unparalleled operational benefits. “That’s been a huge enabler for me with what we do on the retention side of things,” Ben states.
The automation did more than just speed up the dialing process – it enhanced their overall profitability. “Without [the outbound dialer] we couldn’t be nearly as profitable as we are.” Shaving valuable time from the outbound dialing process, Marley Spoon is now able to easily manage their entire customer base and proactively contact their most valuable customers.
Support Beyond the Sale
Outbound calls, in the Marley Spoon framework, weren’t always about making a sale. Sometimes, it’s merely about the human connection. Ben provided an example of the depth of their customer interactions – instead of hard-selling, they might simply check-in, inquire about the customer’s experience, and ask for feedback on recent orders. “We do see a real difference in customer behavior after that, which is great,” Ben observes.
Since the support team operates separately from sales and marketing, they see themselves as a neutral advocate for their customers. Making those outbound calls has allowed them to build an even better relationship with their customer base, and in doing so, identify and address their needs and pain points faster and more effectively.
“Having that functionality and that flexibility is really, really powerful. And what I think is really good about babelforce is the level of support you can get alongside the flexibility.”
Head of CCI Outbound & Planning
The Impact of Prompt Callbacks
Speed and responsiveness lie at the heart of Marley Spoon’s callback system, where customers can request a return call rather than waiting on hold. “All they have to do is type in their phone number,” says Ben, highlighting the simplicity of the process for their customers. The subsequent rapid response, typically within a 20-second window, ensures that customers aren’t left lingering.
Ben and Marley Spoon view this callback functionality as something that sets them apart from their competition. “I think that’s really powerful,” notes Ben, reflecting on the broad industry implications. “And I feel like companies should be using that more.” From Marley Spoon’s perspective, the ultimate goal is to free up bandwidth, allowing their lean team to engage in more proactive, outbound communications.
What Does the Future Hold for Marley Spoon & babelforce?
Marley Spoon, with the help of babelforce, is continuing to experiment with new ways to improve customer interactions. One of their current ideas is to bring back ‘welcome calls’. “I can’t remember the last time I actually had a call from a company saying, hey, welcome on board, this is how it works and all that sort of stuff,” says Ben. “I want to start testing that soon, for example”.
They also want to find out which of their customers would prefer a phone call and then provide a callback method for those customers. They’re considering setting up a push notification in their app offering their customers the option to speak to them on the phone. “I feel like that also gives a really positive message. They just have to type in their number and we call them,” says Ben.
The flexibility of babelforce has allowed Marley Spoon to trial these ideas with confidence, knowing that they can simply adjust the settings if something doesn’t go as expected. “Having that functionality and flexibility I think is really, really powerful,” states Ben.
As Marley Spoon continues to evolve, their long-term vision is clear. They aspire to free up their support team, so that they can deliver even more personalized outbound support and nurture stronger relationships with their customers. By deflecting a significant volume of routine calls and expanding self-service options, Marley Spoon aims to offer a balance of technology-driven efficiency and human-centric service.
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